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Community Blog / SXSW 2014 - The Entrepreneurs Guide to Spending Your Time Wisely

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Simply put, SXSW is an amazing time and experience. 
But, because of all the distractions, it's very easy to lose focus on your objective, which should be networking.
Of the many conferences that I've been able to attend, SXSW has an entire feeling of it's own.
This comes from the stew of people that arrive in one place over the course of a few weeks. It starts with the digital marketers who arrive first, followed by the film makers and then the music scene invades the city. And don't forget about the gamers who are there for all the latest offerings that they are interested in.
This confluence makes for strange bedfellows but also introduces you and your offerings to potential audiences that might have never previously had a chance to learn or hear about your company.
The expo hall is amazing. Technology of all sorts will be there. Swag bags will get full in no time. 
So how can you possibly separate yourself from all the noise that will be there?
You have to get personal.
I don't remember every conversation I had to the last detail, but I remember a story that each person had to tell. This is the key to your success. You have to make sure you connect with people in a way that they will remember you. It might be that you are both fans of a band or both grew up in the same region, it doesn't matter. Maybe you photographed someone on the Game of Thrones chair, they returned the favor, and you have a common reference point (and excuse) to strike up a conversation in the future once you are back at your office and recovered from your time at SXSW.
This is where you will win your next round of business. Everyone is having a great time, and your job is to make sure they remember you as the person that has a solution to their problem. 
As you make your way through the expo hall, have an open mind. Your competitors might be there. Go talk to them. That tells them that you aren't afraid of what they have to offer. Also be on the lookout for other potential business partners. There are all kinds of unique offerings to be found there, and you should take the time to see if one of those many can help your company grow faster.
Finally, enjoy your time there. You might go every year, or you may never get back there again. You can't spend the entire time networking too - enjoy the culture of a very unique city!


Posted by Paul Bliss
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